Management of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

In line with our obligations under the Habitats Directive to put measures in place to maintain and, where needed, improve the ecological health of our SACs (58 in total), in 2017 NIEA embarked on a 4 year work programme which will see the development of a series of Management Plans.

To assist in delivering these, European funding has been secured through INTERREG Va and the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (RDP).  Successful organisations have been appointed and have embarked on developing the majority of these plans. The NIEA Environment Fund is enabling local groups to complete a number of plans while a small number are being developed in-house by NIEA.

A key objective of these plans is to determine the pressures and threats affecting the wellbeing of these important habitats and species and to identify the management actions required to address these pressures. We fully recognise the vital role of land owner and managers have in protecting and managing these sites and acknowledge the importance of first-hand knowledge of the sites and the local practices and traditions. We expect these Management Plans to provide a mechanism for discussing and agreeing appropriate land use and management with land managers, farmers and other key stakeholders within the sites to develop practical measures and identifying available funding sources. 

The desire is to develop management plans built on consensus which meet the conservation requirements of the sites while taking account of the local socio-economic priorities, resulting in more workable and sustainable plans.

Participation is entirely voluntary, but is strongly encouraged, to ensure land owner, managers and wider local community have their say during the preparation of the plans by contacting our project leader or attending the stakeholder meetings as detailed below.

If you wish to be informed of stakeholder meetings, please email conservationplans@daera-ni.gov.uk with your contact details requesting to be added to the stakeholder mailing list.

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